Collection devices for obtaining cervical cytology samples

RHL practical aspects by Jurandyr M. Andrade, Rui A. Ferriani

When the quality of smears obtained with cotton swabs and the spatula of Ayres and the cost of other devices are taken into consideration, the Aylesbury spatula or endocervical brushes appear to be more satisfactory. It is important to remember that health staff who collect the samples should be trained to work with the additional device for endocervical collection. When the brush is used, it should be turned 360 degrees after introduction into the endocervical canal. The 'collectors' must be taught how to avoid an increase in smear preparation time after collection in order to prevent drying of the material and loss of quality of the smear obtained. It is also important to train staff in the technique of transferring the material onto slides - if brushes are used they should be turned around their major axis, keeping them in contact with the slide. In our service we have been using the brush for decades and we have observed that it does not cause patient discomfort. Bleeding is relatively common and patients should be informed about its occurrence. The patient should also be told that it does not impair the quality of the material collected for cytological analysis.

This document should be cited as: Jurandyr M. Andrade, Rui A. Ferriani. Collection devices for obtaining cervical cytology samples: RHL practical aspects (last revised: 17 December 2000). The WHO Reproductive Health Library; Geneva: World Health Organization.